City Releases Legal, Financial Opinions on Parkside House Petition

According to the Charter, the City of West Plains has prepared a legal opinion and financial opinion to go along with the initiative petition and this is the city’s stance on this subject matter:

ADVISORY LEGAL OPINION

 This advisory legal opinion is rendered pursuant to Section 9.2 (b) (1) of the Home Rule Charter of the City of West Plains, Missouri, regarding the legality of the subject matter and wording of an Initiative Petition that proposes an ordinance adopting provisions for the enhanced utilization of the property in the center of Butler Children’s Park commonly known as the Parkside House.

After reviewing applicable constitutional, statutory, ordinance, and charter provisions, I am of the following opinion:

  1. The subject matter of the proposed initiative ordinance is in violation of Article III, Section 51 of the Missouri Constitution which provides that an initiative ordinance shall not be used for the appropriation of money other than new revenues created and provided for in the proposed ordinance.  Since the proposed initiative ordinance does not create or provide for new funds to cover the expenses that would be incurred by the City under the terms of the proposed ordinance, the proposed ordinance violates the Missouri Constitution and does not comply with Article IX, Section 9.1(a) of the City of West Plains Home Rule Charter.
  2. The wording only of the proposed initiative petition entitled Petition by residents of West Plains, Missouri, to appropriate municipal funds for the restoration and preservation of Parkside House substantially complies with the requirements of the Home Rule Charter of the City of West Plains, Missouri.  However, as indicated above, the subject matter of the proposed initiative ordinance violates the Missouri Constitution and West Plains Home Rule Charter.

Dated December 18, 2018.

                                                                                                __________________________________

                                                                                                Charles C. Cantrell, City Attorney

                                                                                               Cantrell & Oberzalek Law Office

                                                                                                P.O. Box 1030

                                                                                                Mountain View, MO  65548

                                                                                                417-934-2226

                                                                                                mvlaw@centurytel.net

Advisory Finance Opinion

This advisory finance opinion is rendered pursuant to Section 9.2 (b) (2) of the Home Rule Charter of the City of West Plains, Missouri regarding the financial analysis of the attached Initiative Petition;

The following is the financial impact with the proposed ordinance:

  1. The estimate of the cost to renovate the Parkside House is approximately $1,000,000 based in part on a feasibility study prepared by an architectural and engineering firm in June, 2015.  Any shortfall in the uncollected private funds or yet to be applied for grants referred in the proposed ordinance could ultimately become the responsibility of the City of West Plains.
  1. The estimated cost of an election is $10,000.00
  1. The estimated expense of maintenance and utilities for the Parkside House after restoration is estimated to be $900 – $1000 per month.  A detailed business plan has not been presented for the utilization of the renovated structure or for the use of the renovated structure to generate income to offset expenses.

The City does not currently have a use for the Parkside House or the funds available to complete or maintain the project as outlined in the proposed ordinance.

Todd Harman

Director of Finance

City of West Plains

DOWNLOAD PETITION IN PDF FORMAT

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